It is so fun to share the Christmas season with toddlers who are just starting to understand the whole magical event. This can also challenging because they want to participate in all aspects of the holiday but many things are too fragile and too breakable for little hands. I have always tried to have a toddler-friendly advent calendar that was just for the youngest children in our family. This kept them excited and involved and kept me from worrying about our fancier advent tree with heirloom ornaments.
The easiest type of advent calendar for toddlers involves cotton balls that can be glued onto Santa's beard-- one for each day. This is an example of a calendar I used with Melissa and Shannon.
For their calendar I had placed a heart around every third or fourth day. For example--- there was a heart around the 4th, 7th, 11th, 14th, 18th and 21st. On the days that had a heart, we did something special such as going to see Santa at the mall or shopping for a present for Daddy. Sometimes I had wrapped a new Christmas coloring book or a new Christmas DVD that they could open on the day with the heart. Spacing out the celebration by adding hearts to the calendar helped make the long wait until Santa arrived a little bit easier.
I have included a printable Santa Countdown Calendar for you here. All you need to do if you want to add mini celebrations is choose 6 dates spaced throughout the month and draw a heart around those dates on the calendar. Check your schedule and choose dates that are relatively free if you are planning an outing. Visit the dollar store and wrap up 6 small gifts if you prefer that option or choose a combination of the two.
Now all you need are cotton balls and a glue stick. Put up the calendar at toddler eye level and help your child stick on one cotton ball first thing each morning as her or she gets out of bed. This is a great time to practice numbers. You can also help your toddler count how many days are left before Christmas or the next heart. Hopefully this calendar will help the days fly by! Christmas will be here before they know it. (Isn't that right, Moms.....?!*&#)